Far From the Madding Crowd is a sweeping romantic drama directed by Thomas Vinterberg that stars Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen, Tom Sturridge, and Juno Temple. It is an adaptation of the 1874 novel of the same name by Thomas Hardy. Set in Victorian England, Mulligan plays Bathsheba Everdene, an independent and headstrong farm owner who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. To be quite honest, even though Bathseba is a strong and independent woman, she is after all human and has a lot to consider with each and every one of these suitors. Screenwriter David Nicholls simply puts it best, “We wanted to provide Bathsheba with a difficult choice.” Indeed they did.
This adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd marks the fourth time this novel has become a film: the second version was directed by John Schlesinger in 1967 with Julie Christie.
Much of the film was shot in the British countryside making it absolutely gorgeous to watch. The scenery is so stunning I defy anyone after seeing this film to not want to take a peaceful country vacation. In addition to the gorgeous location and romantic drama, we are also treated to a beautiful rendition of "Let No Man Steal your Thyme" performed by Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen (who knew Michael Sheen could sing)?
Carey Mulligan is not only busy promoting this film, but she is currently devoted to her current day job on the Broadway stage. Mulligan is starring alongside fellow Brit Bill Nighy in David Hare’s Skylight, which runs through June. It's a play about a pair of former lovers who meet again after the woman they betrayed has died. Set in a single room over 24 hours, its extremes of emotion, precision-timed dialogue, and highly choreographed movements make it challenging to perform, and all the more searing for its confinement. Its initial production 20 years ago at one time costarred Bill Nighy, as does this one, which was performed in London’s West End last year and is directed by Stephen Daldry. Mulligan, best known for her roles in such films as The Great Gatsby and Inside Llewyn Davis, has been so selective about her stage work that her talent for it is something of an industry secret. Eight years ago, she was equisite as Nina in Chekhov’s The Seagull. David Hare was so taken by her performance that he now says she’s “The One. If I were starting a National Theatre,” he explains, “with an acting company, like Olivier had, I’d start around her.” Nighy describes her as “an assassin” before elaborating: “She’s dead-on, she’s immaculate, she’s impeccable.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Michael Sheen, recently in New York about working on the Far From the Madding Crowd. I also discussed with Mulligan her Broadway debut, with Sheen his return to the series Masters of Sex and with Schoenaerts about his next film, The Danish Girl in which he stars alongside Oscar winner, Eddie Redmayne.
Far From the Madding Crowd is in theaters on May 1st.
Please click the link below to watch the interviews.